Two Helena-West Helena City Council members, Christopher Franklin and John Huff, were found guilty of misdemeanor charges in Phillips County District Court last Thursday (April 4) morning.
Franklin, facing six charges ranging from attempting to influence a public servant to terroristic threatening, was convicted on five of the six allegations. Huff, charged with three counts of contempt of court, failure to comply and resisting arrest, was found guilty of two charges.
Franklin's case dates back to December 17, 2012, when he reportedly interfered with the booking process of his brother. According to a police narrative, Franklin was asked to leave the booking room until the process was completed but refused stating that he didn't have to because he was a city councilman.
Franklin reportedly pulled away from the officer attempting to arrest him. Franklin later refused to sign a citation issued by the officer regarding the incident.
The court handed out almost $2,000 in fines and court costs. According to court records, Franklin was found guilty of harassing communications and charged $390 in fines and court costs. On a harassment charge, Franklin was ordered to pay $240 in fines and costs.
On charges of attempting to influence a public servant and resisting arrest, Franklin entered a plea of “no contest.” In both cases, the court found Franklin guilty and assessed fines and costs totaling $400 and $365 respectively. In the resisting arrest charge, presiding Judge Robert Donovan sentenced Franklin to six months probation and suspended imposition of sentence.
For disorderly conduct, Franklin received a $315 fine, six months probation and a suspended imposition of sentence.
Franklin was found not guilty of a charge of terroristic threatening.
Huff was found guilty of contempt of court and resisting arrest and was assessed almost $600 in fines and court costs. For contempt of court, Huff was ordered to pay $240 in fines and court costs. He also was ordered to pay $350 in fines and court costs for resisting arrest. He was found not guilty of refusing to comply.
The incident involving Huff dates back to Feb. 14 when he reportedly refused to rise when the judge left the court session.
Cpl. William Bender was the arresting officer in both the Franklin and Huff incidents. Ralph Clifton was the prosecuting attorney in both cases.